Cover-Up The Only Dish On The Menu .... Unless Tories Are Forced To Include Kincora In National Probe

Mick Brown looks pulls away the linguistic cover from British government cover ups.  Mick Brown is a freelance journalist from Belfast.

Whatever the result of this May’s general election and the make-up of any coalition government, a continued cover-up of the abuse at Kincora will be all that’s on the menu for victims, relatives and campaigners who are demanding events there be included in the Westminster-led abuse probe looking at similar VIP abuse claims in England and Wales.

Last Friday Labour’s shadow secretary of state Ivan Lewis committed his party to doing just that, saying the suffering of the victims, exposed in painful detail in an extensive Channel 4 News segment featuring one of the victims, Richard Kerr, had been “unimaginable”.

Indeed, Lewis was quoted as saying a Labour Government would "take all steps necessary to secure truth and justice for the victims".

A Labour administration seems unlikely and anyway, it’s crystal clear much of the abuse happened under previous Labour administrations, especially in the 1970s: quite the reverse, and they never acted then, so it’s hard to believe Lewis at this point.

The facts are well known – Joe Mains, Raymond Semple and William McGrath, the three senior care staff at the east Belfast care home were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys, with estimates that perhaps up to 29 boys having been abused there since it’s opening in 1958 and the early 1980s.

McGrath is believed to have been an MI5 agent and possibly worked with MI6 too. And it’s well known, stretching back as far as the 1970s, Private Eye and other outlets exposed claims that people in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), British army and the Security and Intelligence Services and Social Services knew about it covered it up or failed to act to prevent it.

One of the victims, Gary Hoy is now taking a judicial review of the decision by Home Secretary Theresa May to exclude Kincora from the national probe, despite a call by a Home Affairs select committee that the Westminster probe should include the allegations about the Belfast abuse.

In February a Belfast judge decided a review should be heard into how the allegations are treated and in what forum.

Despite the latest accounts by former Army intelligence officer Brian Gemmell that he and others had spoken repeatedly to their superiors and colleagues in the Army and Security Service about the abuse as far back as 1975, nothing was done to stop it.

Gemmell finally went public last year to reveal how he had been the military intelligence officer who had compiled a report on the home only to be told by MI5’s deputy in Northern Ireland, Ian Cameron, to “stop digging”.

It is this that campaigners want addressed and why they disagree strongly with May’s position that the issue is a matter for a devolved administration and why the national probe won’t included Northern Irish and Scottish-centred allegations.

The difference between the probe announced last July by Theresa May - in the wake of the Jimmy Savile revelations - to examine whether paedophiles operated and were protected while working in government, the NHS, police, courts and the BBC, and Harte’s probe are vast.

While affairs at the home are being probed by the historical institutional abuse inquiry chaired by Sir Anthony Harte, victims and campaigners and former security witnesses have repeatedly pointed out this inquiry cannot compel witnesses or documents from the agencies at the heart of the cover-up, namely MI5 for one.

Rightly, victims and campaigners are determined that May’s decision to exclude Kincora, is overturned, hence the judicial review.

As is now evident, research by myself and others has shown that the first such probe into the Kincora allegations, by the late Sussex Chief Constable Sir George Terry, was a cover-up of the alleged cover-up – it openly misled Parliament that the Army had known nothing of the abuse. Nor did Terry disclose he had been stopped from quizzing Ian Cameron, the deputy head of MI5, and reputed visitor to Kincora himself.

In the mid-1970s Army officers had repeatedly quizzed former Tara 2ic and associate of McGrath Roy Garland, UDR man Ken Leckey and Carryduff vet James McCormack about what they had discovered about Kincora.

As far back as 1973 General Sir Peter Leng was known to have called for the matter to be handed over to the police and social services. The army moreover had ex-English paratrooper and Monkstown man James Millar working as an intelligence asset inside Tara and later the UDA. 

So Terry’s findings that the Army knew nothing of events at the home or the VIP paedophile ring are demonstrably false. With Terry we find the first concerted effort to officially ‘ring-fence’ Kincora, quickly followed by the Hughes inquiry which had its terms of reference restricted by the now disgraced late Attorney General Sir Michael Havers to exclude army and police knowledge of the home.

All this is already in the public domain and has been for years and it is what makes May’s position even more ridiculous, especially her ‘assurance’ that all state agencies will co-operate with the inquiry.

Many nationalists, loyalists and other observers will be suspicious about the Kincora outcome. For as events have shown with British massacres of unarmed civilians in both Derry and Ballymurphy,  and the RUC Special Branch running of multiple agents in the Mount Vernon UVF that led to so many murders, not one police officer or soldier or security official has been charged.

However things play out in the corridors of power and the halls of justice, it will amount to nothing in the homes and hearts of those left bereaved by British massacres or British aided murder campaigns in cases such as Ballymurphy, Bloody Sunday,  the Mount Vernon UVF/RUC Special Branch et al, if the loved ones are denied justice through whatever mechanism they can achieve it - prosecutions, judicial 1921-style enquiries etc.

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